Kristin Jones and Alison Sider
Wall Street Journal
July 11, 2013

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC has agreed to pay a fine and spend as much as $160 million on projects to resolve allegations that its refinery and chemical plant near Houston emitted harmful amounts of benzene and other air pollutants, the Justice Department said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency argued in a complaint that Shell improperly operated steam-operated flaring devices at its Deer Park, Texas, plant, causing excessive amounts of hazardous materials such as benzene to be released into the air.

The settlement between Shell, the EPA and the Justice Department comes as the EPA is targeting industrial pollution including at refineries and chemical plants. Last year, the agency brought complaints about pollution from refineries owned by BP PLC and Marathon Petroleum Corp.

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